Evidence from Paleosols for the Geological Antiquity of Rain Forest

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Science  22 Jul 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5171, pp. 499-502
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5171.499


Kaolinitic claystones in Paleozoic paleokarst underlying the Middle Pennsylvanian Fort Scott Limestone near Drake, Missouri, contain abundant fossil root traces. These include a surficial root mat as well as stout, woody, deeply penetrating root traces: a rooting pattern similar to that under rain forest. Also similar to soils of rain forest is the deeply weathered clay of the paleosol, in which minimal amounts of nutrient bases remain. Forest communities adapted to oligotrophic clayey substrates in humid climates existed at least 305 million years ago.